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If there’s one thing that I may tell you Let it be:You are your home, Your body is the only house That you will ever truly own, Maybe it’s got some broken windows And there are tear-stains on the floors, Maybe you lock the things you wish you weren’t behind it’s many doors, But there is wisdom on its bookshelves, And a laugh to light the rooms, There’s a vase upon the table Where the love you’ve grown all blooms, Dreams sit on the mantelpiece Next to kindness and your trust, Where you use them all so often They have no time to collect dust, So please don’t look at mansions With that envy in your eyes, There’s more that makes a home Than its appearance or its size, Your body is your shelter So you deserve to love it all, Don’t let the world stand round outside And tell you how to paint your walls, How lucky that you have somewhere To protect you from the night, And if there’s cracks left from the past? Well then they just let in more light. – E. H.

"Should I pursue an actual career in music?” “What if I don’t enjoy the job I can get after I finish university?” “Why do I keep having these shitty experiences in attempts to have a romantic relationship?” “When am I going to heal from this?” “Do I want to live here for the rest of my life?” “Why do these horrible events keep happening in our world? And what could I ever do to help?” “Why am I here?” “What do I truly believe in?” “Do other people think like this?” This is just a tiny glimpse into the world of heavy emotions that go through my body all the time. I am an over-thinker. I analyze my thoughts and emotions constantly. I cry often, mostly from feeling like I cannot even handle my own mind. I feel so incredibly much. Sensitive, emotional, vulnerable… I am all of these things. It can be dark, heart-breaking, and beautiful all at the same time. Sometimes I wish I was not this way, but then I remind myself how often it brings me to new ideas and realizations. I feel overwhelmingly passionate about many things in this world. Music, art, nature, fitness, writing, dancing, travel… I could go on and on. Having this tugging feeling in your heart about so many different things is wonderful, but it also creates a lot of anxiety for me. What do I pick? Can I really have it all? Some days I feel this urge to work really hard on being a musician. Other days I think I want to focus on building a business in health and fitness. But then on a different day I want to be a part of an organization that takes action to help world issues. What do you do when your heart is being pulled in all different directions? The thought about how all of us are maybe on earth to serve a certain purpose is scary to me. The internet is filled with quotes about life and relationships and what they should be. We don’t have to follow these ideas, because not all of them are going to feel right to every unique person. We are all so different and I am learning that everything is so personal. What if I want to have the biggest life possible, jam-packed with everything I have ever dreamed of? I have also never felt so strange and uncertain about dating than I do right now. Maybe some that are reading can relate to feeling scarred by an experience, so much so that you feel like staying away from any kind of romantic relationship in hope that you are protecting yourself. I am still working on moving past something that haunts me. After feeling so hurt so many different times I just want to shield my heart and body. I feel safe when I am alone. It is just me, belonging to myself and no one else. However, I try to stay grateful for what I have gone through as it has caused me to grow into a place of unconditional self-love. I care about myself so much that I am careful and cautious about who I allow to come into my life. I am disappointed in how often people are primarily viewed in sexual/physical ways. Sometimes it feels like how you look on the outside is what matters most. I wish it mattered the least. When people find out that I am a “virgin” they are usually very surprised and say “How? You’re so pretty!” or something along the lines of associating my appearance with it. I find these responses ridiculous. I have waited to have sex because I have not yet felt truly valued by someone, and in no way am I ashamed or embarrassed to say that. I want to be seen for who I am as a whole person. I believe every person deserves to feel loved and appreciated for all they are. What makes you laugh, what makes you angry, what you think about life and all its joy’s and down falls. I fear that when someone looks at me, they only see the surface. What is beneath a person’s outer shell is so much more than you could ever imagine. I want people to care about that. Even though I have never been in a long-term relationship, my “love life” has caused me much grief over the last few years. I am thankful though, because it has also guided me to some great lessons. My favorite thing I have realized in regards to romantic relationships is that I don’t need one. It brings me peace to feel complete and whole on my own, knowing that if I end up with someone it will be because they add a new and magnificent dimension to my already full life. The word “add” helps me a lot. Whatever it is, if it doesn’t add to your life and who you already are, why are you letting it stay? I am on my own journey of discovering what I believe in, what I want my life to be, and who I want to have in it. Even though the wondering thoughts are sometimes full of anxiety, they help push me. They push me to get out of toxic relationships and wait for something real. They push me to be more honest with myself and others. They push me into a place of expression. They push me to write this. I am almost 20 years old. The possibilities are endless, which scares me, but it’s also incredible. At the same time of uncertainty, I am also so grateful. Something that my friend Abby taught me is to try to take each day at a time. That is the one thing that has helped me the most this past year. It is so easy to look into the future and get stressed out about it, when we really don’t have a clue about what will happen. What I’ve been dreaming about the most lately, is being present. I strive to be present in my life because it’s probably what I struggle with the most. How will I ever experience the beauty in every day when I am too busy worrying about the next one? I want to make people feel loved. I want to surround myself with people who love me for all that I am. I want to make differences in this world, no matter how small. I want to do every single thing that brings me joy. This is what is most important to me and I’m going to work on it one day at a time."

-Whitney x